At least 10 private companies have agreed to participate in the construction of more socio-economic infrastructure projects in six previously acknowledged camps of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in an internationallyfunded initiative to hasten economic recovery in the conflict-affected region.
Representatives of the companies on 19 January signed contracts under the Mindanao Trust Fund-Reconstruction and Development Project Phase 3 (MTF-RDP/3) in ceremonies in the offices in Cotabato and Iligan of the Community and Family Services International (CFSI).
CFSI, the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA), and the MILF’s development arm are implementing the US $3 million MTF-RDP/3 project administered by the World Bank with grants from Australia, Canada, the European Union,
Sweden, New Zealand, and the United States.
The participation of the private contractors in 19 socio-economic projects indicates confidence in the peace process, said Noraida Abdullah Karim, CFSI’s director for Mindanao. “For the most part in the past, they have stayed away from the area,” she said.
BDA Executive Director Windel Diangcalan stressed the importance of vigorous efforts to ensure completion of the projects under MTF-RDP/3 scheduled to end in March.
The 19 projects include the construction of health centers and clinics, feeder roads, bridges, water systems, and postharvest facilities in communities in areas covered by Camp Abubakar as-Siddique, Camp Badre, Camp Bilal, Camp Bushra Somiyorang, Camp Omar, and Camp Rajamuda.
Established in 2005, the MTF consolidates international development assistance for the socio-economic recovery of the rebellion-torn communities in Mindanao and seeks to build confidence in the normalization process with the MILF.
From 2005 to 2017, a total of 614 community sub-projects were completed in 332 barangays across 114 municipalities in Mindanao. It costs $ PhP 706 million ($ 14.12 million) with nearly 640,000 people benefitting from the established facilities.
Mohammad Guiapal of Minrock Multibuilders said during the contract signing ceremonies: “CFSI and BDA have already seen our accomplishments and our past results will tell … We pray for everyone’s good health and we hope that there will be no disruptions in the area so that we will finish on time.” JJHAK Construction Representative Abdul Jabbar Ugalingan expressed hopes for good weather. “We hope the heavy rain will not carry on because it might have an effect on our construction schedule,” he said. “Nevertheless, we will do everything to adjust and we assure you that we will do whatever is in the plans and specifications.”